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friend, expecting she would coine out to meet me, but I materials for building, straw by straw and feather by found she was not able to do so; and, when I saw her, feather; for, as I suppose all little people know, birds I was struck with the thought that she would never line their nests with some soft material, feathers, wool, living leave the house again. She was at first overcome shreds, or something of the sort that will feel smooth at meeting me, but, after a few moments, she wiped and comfortable to the little un fledged birds. Strange, away ber tears and talked cheerfully. "I hoped,” she is it not, that a bird should know how to build its nest said, “my journey would have done me good, but 1 and prepare for housekeeping! How, think you, did think it has been too much for me; I have so longed it learn? who teaches it? Some birds work quicker to get back to father's house, and to look over these and more skilfully than others. A friend of mine who bills once more : and though I am weak and sick, words used to rear canaries in cages, and who observed their can't tell how contented I feel; I sit in this chair and ways accurately, told me there was as much difference look out of this window, and feel as a hungry man between them as between housewives. Some are neat sitting down to a full table. “Look there,” she con- and quick, and others slatternly and slow. Those who tinued
, pointing to a cherry-tree before the window, have not observed much are apt to fancy that all birds " do you see that robin? ever since I can remember, of one kind, for instance, that all hens are just alike; every year a robin has had a nest in that tree. I used but each, like each child in a family, has a character to write to father and inquire about it when I was gone; of its own. One will be a quiet, patient little body, and when he wrote to me, in the season of bird-nesting, always giving up to its companions; and another for he always said something about the robins ; so that ever fretting, futtering, and pecking. I know a little this morning, when I heard the robin's note, it seemed girl who names the fowls in her poultry-yard according to me like the voice of one of the family."
to their characters. A lordly fellow who has beaten " Have you taught your children, Mary,” I asked, all the other cocks in regular battle, who cares for * to love birds as well as flowers ?”
nobody's rights, and seems to think that all his com“I believe it is natural to them,” she replied; "but panions were made to be subservient to him, she calls I suppose they take more notice of them from seeing Napoleon. A pert, handsome little coxcomb, who how much I love them. I have not had much to give spends all his time in dressing his feathers and strutmy children, for we have had great disappointments in ting about the yard, is named Narcissus. Bessie is a the new countries, and have been what are called very young hen, who, though she seems very well to underpoor folks; so I have been more anxious to give them stand her own rights, is a general favorite in the poulwhat little knowledge I had, and to make them feel lry-yard. Other lively young fowls are named after that God has given them a portion in the birds and the favorite cousins, as Lizzy, Susy, &c. But the best loved lowers, his good and beautiful creation."
of all is one called “Mother,” because she never seems "Mother always says,” said Lyman; and there, to think of herself, but is always scratching for others ; seeming to remember that I was a stranger, he stopped. because, in short, she is, in this respect, like that best, "What does mother always say ?” I asked. kindest, and dearest of parents, the mother of our little “She says we can enjoy looking out upon beautiful mistress of the poultry-yard. prospects, and smelling the flowers, and hearing the To return to the robin. She seemed to be of the birds sing, just as much as if we could say they are quietest and gentlest, minding her own affairs, and mine !* *
never meddling with other people's; never stopping to "Well, is it not just so ?” said Mrs. Lyman; “has gossip with other birds, but always intent on her own not our Father in heaven given his children a share in work. In a few days the nest was done, and four eggs all his works? I often think, when I look out upon the laid in it. The faithful mother seldom left her nest. beautiful sky, the clear moon, the stars, the sunset Her mate, like a good husband, was almost always to clouds, the dawning day; when I smell the fresh woods be seen near her. Lyman would point him out to me and the perfumed air; when I hear the birds sing, and as he perched on a bough close to his little lady, where my heart is glad, I think, after all, that there is not so he would sit and sing most sweetly. Lyman and I used much difference in the possessions of the rich and poor to guess what his notes might mean. Lyman thought as some think; 'God giveth to us all liberally, and he might be relating what he saw when he was abroad
upon the wing, his narrow escapes from the sportsman's “Ah!" thought I, “ the Bible says truly, “as a man shot, and from the stones which the thoughtless boy tbioketh, so is he. Here is my friend, a widow and sends, breaking a wing or leg, just to show how he poor, and with a sickness that she well knows must can hit. I thought he might be telling his little wife end in death, and yet, instead of sorrowing and com- how much he loved her, and what good times they plaining, she is cheerful and enjoying those pleasures would have when their children came forth from the that all may enjoy if they will; for the kingdom of shells. It was all guesswork, but we could only guess nature abounds with them. Mrs. Bradly was a disciple about such matters, and I believe there is more thought of Christ ; this was the foundation of her peace ; but, in all the animal creation than wc dream of. alas
, all the disciples of Christ do not cultivate her wise, Once, when he had been talking in this playful way, cheerful, and grateful spirit.”
Lyman's mother said, "God has ever set the solitary I began with the story of the robin-family on the birds in families. They are just like you, children; cherry-tree
, and I must adhere to that. I went often better off and happier for having some one to watch to see my friend, and I usually found her in her favo- over them and provide for them. Sometimes they lose rite seat by the window. There she delighted to watch, both their parents, and then the poor little birds must with her children, the progress of the little lady-bird perish; but it is not so with children ; there are always that was preparing for her young. She collected her I some to take pity on orphan children, and, besides, they
can make up, by their love to one another, for the love "Is it not strange," said Lyman to me, “ that any one they have lost.”
can begrudge birds their small portion of fond? They I saw Lyman understood his mother; his eyes filled are all summer singing for us, and I am sure it is liule with tears, and, putting his face close to hers, he said, to pay them to give them what they want to eat. I “Oh no, mother ! they never can make it up; it may believe, as mother says, God has provided for them as help them to wear it.”
well as for us, and mother says she often thinks they When the young birds came out of their shells it deserve it better, for they do just what God means then was our pleasure 10 watch the parents feeding them. to do.” It was easy to see that Lyman bad been Sometimes the father-bird would bring food in his bill, taught to consider the birds, and therefore he loved and the mother would receive it and give it to her them. young. She seemed to think, like a good, energetic Our attention was, for some days, taken off the birds. mother, that she ought not to sit idle and let her The very night after the robin's death, my friend, in a husband do all the providing, and she would go forth fit of coughing, burst a blood vessel. Lyman came for and bring food for the young ones, and then a pretiy me early the next morning. She died before evening. sight it was to see them stretch up their little necks to I shall nut now describe the sorrow and the loss of the receive it.
poor children. If any one who reads this has lost a Our eyes were one day fixed on the little family. good mother, he will know, better than I can tell, what Both parents were perched on the tree. Two young a grief it is; and, if his mother be still living, I pray men from the village, who had been out sporting, were him to be faithful, as Lyman was, so that he may feel passing along the road. “I'll bet you a dollar, Tom,” as Lyman did when he said, “Oh, I could not bear it said one of them, “I'll put a shot into that robin's if I had not done all I could for mother !" head.” “Done !" said the other; and done it was for The day after the funeral I went to see the children. our poor little mother. Bang went the gun, and down As I was crossing the field and walking beside the little to the ground, gasping and dying, fell the bird. My brook I have mentioned, I saw Sam Sibley loitering poor friend shut her eyes and groaned; the children along. Sam is an idle boy, and, like all idle boys I burst out into cries and lamentations; and, I must ever knew, mischievous. Sam was not liked in the confess, I shed some tears I could not help it. We village ; and, if you will observe, you will see that those ran out and picked up the dead bird, and lamented over children who are in the habit of pulling off flies' wings, it. The young man stopped, and said he was very throwing stones at birus, beating dogs, and kicking sorry ; that if he had known we cared about the bird horses, are never loved; such children cannot be, for he would not have shot it; he did not want it; he only those that are cruel to animals will not care for the shot to try his skill. I asked him if he could not as feelings of their companions. well have tried his skill by shooting at a mark. “Cer- At a short distance from the brook there was a rocky tainly!” he answered, and laughed, and walked on. mound, and shrubbery growing around it, and an old Now I do not think this young man was a monster, or oak-tree in front of it. The upper limbs of the oak any such thing, but I do think that, if he had known were quite dead. Sam had his hand full of pebbles, as much of the habits and history of birds as Lyman and, as he loitered along, he threw them in every direcdid, he would not have shot this robin at the season tion at the birds that lighted on the trees and fences. when it is known they are employed in rearing their Luckily for the birds, Sam was a poor marksman, as he young, and are enjoying a happiness so like what hu- was poor in everything else; so they were unhurt till, man beings feel; nor, if he had looked upon a bird as at length, he hit one perched on the dead oak. As Sam's a member of God's great family, would he have shot stone whistled through the air, Lyman started from it, at any season, just to show his skill in hitting a behind the rocks, crying, “Oh, don'.—it's our robin ! mark. We have no right to abate innocent enjoyment He was too late ; our robin fell at his feet; he took it up nor inflict unnecessary and useless pain.*
and burst into tears. He did not reproach Sam; he The father-bird, in his first fright, darted away, but was too sorry to be angry. As I went up to him he he soon returned and flew round and round the tree, said, in a low voice, “ Everything I love dies!” I did uttering cries which we understood as if they had been not reply, I could not. “How sweetly," resumed Ly. words; and then he would Autter over the nest, and man," he sung only last night, after we came home from the little motherless birds stretched up their necks and the burying.ground, and this morning the first sound answered with feeble, mournful sounds. was not Mary and I heard was his note; but he will never sing long that he stayed vainly lamenting. The wisdom again!" God had given him taught him that he must not stand
Sam had come up to us. I saw he was ashamed, and still and suffer, for there is always something to do; a I believe he was sorry too; for, as he turned away, I lesson that some human beings are slow to learn. So heard him say to himself, “By George! I'll never fing off he flew in search of food ; and from that moment, as another stone at a bird so long as I live." Lyman told me, he was father and mother to the little It must have done something towards curing his bad ones; he not only fed them, but brooded over them just habits to see the useless pain he had caused to the bird as the mother had done; a busy, busy life he had of it. and the bird's friend; and the lesson sank much deeper
than if Lyman had spoken one angry or reproachful * Lord Byron somewhere says, that he was so much moved word, for now he felt really sorry for Lyman. One by seeing the change from life to death in a bird he had shot, good feeling makes way for another. that he could never shoot another. I may lay myself open to the inculcation of a mawkish and unnecessary tenderness, but
To our great joy, the robin soon exhibited some I believe a respect to the rights and happiness of the defenceless signs of animation ; and, on examination, I perceived always does a good work upon the heart.
he had received no other injury than the breaking of a leg. A similar misfortune had once happened to a ca- Where erst I roam'd delighted, deeming earth nary-bird of mine, and I had seen a surgeon set its leg; With all its wealth, had nought so beautiful, so, in imitation of the doctor, I set to work and splinted As its trim hedge of roses, and the ranks it, and then despached Lyman for an empty cage in our Of daffodils, with snow-drops at their feet, garret. We moved the little family from the tree to How small and chang'd, it seems !—That velvet turf the cage. The father-bird, even with the young ones, with its cool arbor, where I lingered long, felt strange and unhappy for some time. It was a very Learning my little lesson, or perchance, different thing living in this pent-up place from enjoying Eying the slowly-ripening peach, that lean'd the sweet liberty of hill and valley, and he did not know Its glowing cheek against the lattic'd wall, our good reason for thus afflicting him any better than we Or holding converse with the violet-buds, sometimes do of our troubles when we impatiently fret That were to me as sisters,-giving back and grieve. In a short time he became more contented. Sweet thoughts. I would not wish to sit there now! The family said he knew Lyman's footstep, and would changes, 'mid scenes that we so much have lov'd, reply to his whistle ; sure am I Lyman deserved his Are death-bells to the soul. lore and gratitude, for he was the faithful minister of
See,-by rude cliffs Providence to the helpless little family. They never O’ercanopied, -the dome, where science taught wanted food nor drink. When, at the end of a very Her infant rudiments. First day of school ! few weeks, be found them all able to take care of I well remember thee,-just on the verge themselves, he opened the door of the cage and said, Of my fourth summer. Every face around, "Go, little birds, and be happy, for that is what God How wonderful and new! The months mor'd on, made you for."
Majestically slow. Awe-struck, I mark'd The birds could speak no word of praise or thanks ; | The solemn school-dame, in her chair of state, but happiest are those who find their best reward, not much fearing, lest her all-observant eye in the praise they receive, but the good they do. Should note me, wandering from my patch-work task,
Or spelling-lesson. Still, that humble soil
Link'd to my name—and then, the crowning joy, VISIT TO THE NATIVE PLACE.
Homeward to bear, on shoulder neatly pinn'd,
The bow of crimson satin, rich reward
Of well-deserving,—not too lightly won,
Wiser, and more accomplish'd. Learning's field, Poureth o'er copse and forest,- beautiful,
Indeed, was circumscribed,—but its few plants Yei speaking of decay. The aspiring pine
Had such close pruning, and strict discipline, Wears his undying green, but the strong oak As givelh healthful ruot; -and hardy stalk,Like smitten giant, casts his honors down,
Perchance, enduring fruit. Stewing brown earth, with emerald and gold.
Beneath yon roof,
Our own no more,--beneath my planted trees,
She dwelt, whose hallow'd welcome was so dear, Stand half in nakedness, and half in show
O Mother, Mother!--all thy priceless love
Is fresh before me, -as of yesterday.
Thine idol fondness, for thine only one, -
The untold tenderness, with which thy heart The pallid poplar, turning to the eye
Embrac'd my first-born infant, when it came Its silver lining, moans at every breeze.
With its young look of wonder,-10 thy home I walk'd with sadness thro' these alter'd scenes. A stranger visitant. Fade !--visions, fade ! The voice of man was painful. On the ear,
For I would think of thine eternal rest, Idly and vain it fell,- for tearful thought
And praise my God for thee. Brought faded images of early joys,
And now, farewell And lost affections.
Dear native spot! with fairest landscapes deck'd, Yonder low-brow'd cot,
of old romantic cliff, and crystal rill, Whose threshold oft my childish foot has cross'd And verdant soil,--enrich'd with proudest wealth, So merrily,—whose hearth-stone shone so bright, Warm hearts and true. At eve, -wbere with her skilful needle wrought
Yet deem pot I shall wear The industrious matron, while our younger group
The mourner's weeds for thee. Another home Beguild with fruit and nuts, and storied page, Hath joys and duties,—and where'er my path The winter's stormy hour,—where are they now? On earth shall lead, --I'll keep a nesting bough Who coldly answers,-dead ?
For Hope the song-bird, -and with cheerful step Fast by its side,
Hold on my pilgrimage,-remembering where A dearer mansion stands, where my young eyes
Flowers have no autumn-languor. Eden's gate First opened on the light. Yon garden's bound,
No flaming sword to guard the tree of life.
" From all she brought to all she could not bring."
The gentle gales, the warbling birds of spring,
Ils woods, its verdant fields and opening flowers, Fresh o'er the mind that feels their presence-bring
The memory sad of unreturning hours :--
When on the earth this joyous season shone,
Sweel, for they have been,-mournful, because gone!
While griefs are many and so long remain:
In coilsome journeys o'er a desert plain,
C. H. Norfolk, May, 1938.
I mark your eager looks, your shouts of gladness,
In sports where laughter rings a joyous pealYour voices chase away all thoughts of sadoess,
My infant days before me seem to steal, And bright-winged hopes a seraph train arise, of bliss for ye on earth and in the skies ! Hearts that seem frozen to all tender feeling
Melt at the glance of childhood as the snow Dissolves in sunshine-in its looks appealing
Angelic innocence and beauty glow,
Boy! of the sturdy step and beaming eye-
With voice of clear and thrilling melody,
Hours when my heart was like th' untired wing of a gay bird-their mem'ry hovers o'er me
Like autumn days that wear the smile of spring.
May no unkindness chill your artless glee !
And virtue's star your guiding planet be! May peace and health in life's dark chalice pour For you their sparkling waters, evermore!
E.AS. March, 1838.
ON HER BIRTH-DAY.
INNOVATIONS IN STYLE.
Multa genera sunt enuntiandi, nec ullus distortius quam hoc.
'Tis a wild fancy, but the heart believes it, -
Man's unceasing thirst for novelty and change, is almost as conspicuous in language as in dress. Sometimes we see it in a single word or phrase, which, introduced by some eminent writer or speaker, is readily adopted by the herd of imitators until it obtains a general currency, and either becomes incorporated in the language, or, sharing the fate of last year's fashions, is laid aside and forgotten. At other times the love of innovation takes a higher aim, and ambitiously strives to introduce a new manner and style of writing, well aware that there is no praise an author can obtain which ranks so high as that of originality. If this enterprise be associated with genius, and be cleverly executed, it is sure to be rewarded with an ample harvest of admirers and imitators, most of whom, not very nicely discriminating between its merits and defects, will be likely to copy the latter, as the easier of the two, until by the effect of reiteration and extravagance, they gradually open the eyes of the public to false pretension, and good taste resumes its legitimate ascendency.
Of this character were the affectations of Sterne, who had for a time a host of copyists, but who has long since ceased to exert any influence on English
Blossoms of earth! our path of life adorning,
Ye are the types of guilelessness and truth ! Fresh and untainted as the breath of morning,
Ye give to age itself, a touch of youth, And in your pure caresses hold a charm, All grief to soothe, all anger to disarm. Yours is the power to win us and to soften
With words of music, far beyond the notes or harp or viol-1 have heard them often,
Still on my ear their fairy sweetness floatsAnd bright locks parted o'er a snowy brow, And soft blue eyes beam on me-even now!
literature. Dr. Johnson, too, bad somewhat ear. There can be no question that Dr. Johnson's lier introduced a new manner of writing English, influence on English style was long and extenwhich was recommended by yet more genius and sively felt, nor was there clear evidence that this mental vigor than Sterne's. He added something, influence was in the wane, until some time after as he justly alleges,“ to the grammatical purity of the beginning of this century. There then apthe language, and to the harmony of its cadence," peared a body of writers, who resisting the force and yet more, he might have added, to its com- of his authority and example, wrote in that free, pactness and precision. But with all these real spirited, and natural manner which accords with improvements of our style, he worsened it, as Mr. the genius of the language as well as of the people Soulhey would say, or deteriorated it, as he him- who speak it, and to which the national taste is sure self would have said, by the introduction of so to return, as to its home, however it may be for a many words from the Latin and the Greek. The while, led astray by the seductive glare of novelty. body and heart of our language are Anglo-Saxon, From the time that all vestiges of Dr. Johnson's and while it has been enriched and improved by characteristics began to disappear, and a purer the naturalization of new words to express ideas taste prevailed, English style continued to imwhich our simple-minded ancestors did not possess, prove, and the language was never, perhaps, so such foreign intruders should not be so numerous generally well written as it has been in the 19th of conspicuous as to overcrow the natives of the century. Since then it has possesscd the terse language. These words of foreign derivation not vigor of the age of Elizabeth, without its quaintonly take away from the homogeneousness of our ness or harshness; the simplicity of the reign of mother tongue, and give to it the air of a piece of Queen Anne, without its looseness; and the rythm patch-work, but they also want the raciness and and correctness of Johnson, without his formality pungent force possessed by the Anglo-Saxon, by or pomp. It has added, in short, precision and force reason of its furnishing nearly all our names of to the ease of nature and the grace of variety. In sensible objects, our household terms, and the proof of this, I may refer to the writings of Southey expressions of our simplest and strongest feelings. and Sir Walter Scott, generally, to the best arti
Nor was it only by his profusion of Anglicised cles in the Edinburgh and Quarterly Rev vs, to Latin words, that Dr. Johnson presented a faulty Gifford, to Hallam, to Washington Irving, to the model of style. He had also a stately pomp of elder Bulwer, to Charles Lamb, to very many of manner, which he no more laid aside on light and the lighter articles in the English periodicals, to a gay topics, than on grave and important occasions; few of our own, and to Dr. Channing, though his and he was withal so habitually sententious, that style, perfect as it is in its kind, may be said to be would express the most trite and familiar truth have the excellencies which characterise the last with the solemnity of an oracle. Such as, “ Labor century rather than this. necessarily requires pauses of ease and relaxation, But the prurient desire of innovation, it seems, and the deliciousness of ease commonly makes us could not remain long idle, and it has lately chalunwilling to return to labor"_“It is not only com- lenged public applause, mon to find the difficulty of an enterprise greater, but the profit less, than hope had pictured it”
Things, unattempted yet in prose." "He that never extends his view beyond the praises or rewards of men, will be dejected by Some writers in the most popular English journeglect and envy, or infatuated by honors and nals, perceiving that style had gained greatly.in applause." Such truisms, which have been taken rivacity and attractiveness by assuming the free at random from a paper in the Rambler, Vol. III, and careless turn of conversation, or at least of No. 128, should be merely hinted, not formally epistolary writing, have so entirely affected this stated. Even when the weight of matter, as is manner, that they often exceed the utmost license most frequently the case, has much to recommend of extempore and unpremeditated speech. Findit, these insulated sentences, assuming the impor-ing that some happy novelty was occasionally a tance of maxims, seem ostentatious and dictatorial, violation of rule, they make a merit of setting all and are, at best, objectionable for their mannerism. rules at defiance, and systematically seek to give
It was in vain that these faults were seen by a piquancy to language by disregarding its propriefew and condemned ; that Goldsmith, Hume, and ties. Perceiving that words a little turned from some others, continued to write with the graceful their ordinary acceptation have given a grace to ease and simplicity of Addison, and that the voice the diction of such masters as Burke, or Jeffrey, of criticism was now and then raised to condemn or Sidney Smith, these imitators wrench and these solenın fopperies of style; the various know- twist them to all sorts of strange uses. Having ledge and the sterling sense they bedizened, so re- seen that some of these seasonings were useful to commended them to the mass of readers, that their stimulate the languid appetites of the overcrammagniloquence and sententiousness were every- med reader, they empty their little cruets into the where, either purposely or unconsciously imitated. dish and ruin it. They cannot distinguish between
" while it pursues